Categories
education

Educating future leaders

Dr Indrapriya Kularatne of Otago Polytechnic Auckland International Campus discusses educating international future leaders to be sustainable practitioners. A specialist in International Sustainability Education, Indra makes use of the diverse perspectives of students from all over the world. The first step is an appreciation of the real environment that includes themselves. He works to ensure that his future managers see sustainability as the solution, not the problem.

We can’t live alone

Do something right. others will follow you.

Superpower: Blending scientific knowledge and social aspects and ability to communicate with future managers.

Creating change agents – we take people from nowhere practicing sustainable practitioners.

Sustainability is about changing mindsets

Categories
ecology landscape

Learning in Place

Dr Walter Poleman is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Ecological Planning Programme at the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He is coordinator of the Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network which is a United Nations Regional Centre for Expertise for Education for Sustainable Development.

I love to see how things connect – and place is crucial in that.

People and place are inseparable.

We are all the parts connected together in a whole.

The best educators help students see connections

Relearning an integrated whole

Restorative justice and restorative environments are in the same place – healing can occur, and they are both dependent on the health of the whole.

Sustainability: ecological flourishing plus human flourishing

Walter teaches courses in integrated field science, landscape ecology, and measurements and mapping of natural resources. He also serves as the director of the Place-based Landscape Analysis and Community Engagement (PLACE) Program, a partnership of University of Vermont and Shelburne Farms, which provides local residents with a forum for exploring and understanding the natural and cultural history of their town landscape.

Categories
history

Diseases of Modern Life

Prof Sally Shuttleworth of St Anne’s College University of Oxford discusses diseases of modern life – what we can learn from Victorian responses to change. She talks of astonishing rates of change – just look at journey times – that created bewildering changes to society, and brought forth both optimism and anxiety.

We discuss how a Victorian sense of duty came with a strong desire to improve things, with a sense of legacy for a future ourselves unknown. Also how technological development emboldened a imperial mentality. The Victorians were deeply aware of the tensions of industrialisation and fought for the survival of health and the environment – including through sanitary organisations. There is much we can learn from the responses to these “Diseases of Modern Life“.

People at all levels in Victorian society followed (and contributed) through books and periodicals – the latter being notable for what we would now describe as eclectic mix of subject areas – from engineering to arts to life sciences. The mill workers had a breadth of understanding that might surprise us now, including taking active roles in constructing scientific communities.

Prof Shuttleworth was in Dunedin as the William Evans Fellow in the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Otago. Her work “Speed of Modern Life” involved a multimedia projection onto the side of the Richardson building (a collaboration with The Projection Studio). This piece tracks the transformation from rural communities to industrial production with an increasing pace and sense of pressure.

Categories
climate change community electricity generation

Energised community action

Scott Willis believes in community action. We talk about all the ways the manager of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust has put that belief into action. Recent successes include the launch of the Blueskin Energy Network that provides a market to encourage small-scale renewable community energy sharing. The completion of the first Climate Safe House was a real milestone on a project to progress new housing models to demonstrate adaptation and innovative ownership options.

The vision is to energise our communities, to be talking about and taking action on the big issues

As I move away from myself, my influence gets less, but the potential sphere impact increases…community is a great scale to affect good change.

Demonstrating what we can do at the flaxroots, we can make change at a different scale

Energy enables us to thrive more than survive, but our profligate consumption has caused the long emergency

We need to engage with the cost of profligate use of energy

We’re democratising our electricity sector

There is always something we can do, but don’t feel burdened to get it right, be humble enough to know we are always learning how to make a difference

Working on solutions makes me happy.

Acting despite uncertainty

Categories
communication politics

Taking responsibility, positively.

Hysterical negativity doesn’t drive opportunities. We have to make room to be positive.

Prof Joseph Haldane is founder, chair and CEO of the International Academic Forum (IAFOR).

With a doctorate in french studies, his research and teaching is on history, politics, international affairs and international education, as well as governance and decision making.

We talk about global governance and ethics and the politics of fear. The Machiavellian playbook of fear is being used quite deliberately – setting up the “other” and changing the balance of victimhood. From this we see “fake news” and strongman politics. But Haldane is positive and sees a path of positive politics and international cooperation . Travel, he says, is breaking down racist paradigms. But to do that we have to change to a future of thriving and regenerative future. While the challenge is intergenerational, it is also urgent, so we can’t be forced into inaction by negativity.

Definition: We have to be the best version of whatever we have at the moment

Superpower: Decent host, bringing the right people together.

Activist: I have the ability to run, to be excited by projects, and to focus on the long term drivers of change.

Miracle: Inequality is the most egregious injustice. We need meaningful international and national public policy to address.

This conversation was recorded at IAFOR’s Asian Conference on Education in Tokyo in November 2019.

Categories
climate change conflict law peace

Genuine connections

Now he is a human rights researcher, but as a young man Brian Aycock joined the military. He was sent to provide security for international war crimes investigations, including watching the uncovering of mass graves. Trained to dehumanise the situation he instead developed a strong empathy for the other and returned to study history and literature.  He found community and connection in those who are activists in their daily lives, and a kinship with the downtrodden. He joined the Peace Corps and through genuine connections in places such as Malawi learnt his most important lesson – be nice to everybody. For Brian this means a respect for the other and indeed a breakdown of otherness.  Returning to the US again he worked with poor and disenfranchised on a “get out the vote” campaign – learning much about the value of positive communications.

Further study in the UK in economics led to marriage in Japan and working on refugee resettlement programmes and from there to an MA in refugee law.  He is now working for the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in Japan, bringing people together in international cooperation of research and learning.   

We talk about the inequity of an international system that has globalised except for labour – privileging money and goods over human beings, and that we have failed to recognise that migration is at the heart of human security.  

He is continuing to research refugee law, focusing on climate refugees.  Brian argues that we urgently need an international framework for burden sharing for such environmentally displaced persons. 

Definition:  Solved before handed onto next generation. 

Superpower: Kindness

Activist: Yes, if you’re not, you’re failing as a human. If you’re not doing anything, you’re letting life pass you by.

Motivation: Respect for human beings

Miracle: Seeing each other as humans – be kind to each other

Advice: Say hello to the people around you. 

This conversation was recorded at Lingnam University in Hong Kong in November 2019.

Categories
community health nursing rural

Compassion for Rural Communities

Dr Audrey Snyder is associate dean of nursing – experiential learning and innovation at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is President of the global Rural Nurse Organisation.

We talk about the personal development of the ethic of care – asking can we train for that? A passion for making a difference to other people is crucial. We talk about the challenges of caring for rural communities whose aging small populations are spread out which means special challenges across the sphere of nursing from emergencies to mental health to community wellbeing. This community wellbeing also applies to rural nurses themselves with challenges for maintaining a community of practice.

Audrey was in Dunedin for the Australasian Nurse Educators Conference.

Categories
education

politics of everyday life

Deane E. Neubauer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Over the course of his career he has focused on a variety of political and policy areas including democratic theory, public policy, elections and various policy foci, including education, health, agriculture and communication.

We talk about the rapidly changing world driving change in higher education including climate change, AI and resurgent nationalism. The implications of these forces are far-reaching, from the challenges to old disciplines, massification and the notion of truth.

But before that we talk about growing up in Wisconsin, and accidentally stumbling in academia then sociology and political science. And then a cornucopia of topics encompassed by “the politics of everyday life”: alternative healthcare; globalisation; resurgent nationalism; interdisciplinarity; politics of resentment; and how we get real change. While change may come from an emergency (he points to Californian fires), we need, Deane says, to find a way to “overcome the forces of despair”.

Categories
education RCEOtago youngleader

Youth that needs to be listened to

Matt Shepherd, Sylvia Otley and Luke Geddes from the Youth Working Group of the Otago UN Regional Centre for Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development

Categories
climate change dunedin youngleader

Real positive change

Zak Rudin was one of the co-organisers of the Dunedin School Strike for Climate. Now he has finished school, we talk about what drives him and what’s next.

Categories
climate change psychology

Head in the crowds

We talk with Prof Marc Wilson of Victoria University of Wellington. Why is there such a gap between science and people who don’t believe in climate change? Psychology. Marc says that what we believe, we believe for a reason, and in this case a lot of disbelief can be linked to views on hierarchy versus equality, and orientation to authority. And this leads to entrenched positions that can’t be overcome with more facts. He says that we’ve probably saturated the market of people who will be convinced by facts.

So how can we make a difference? Marc points to changing the way we communicate “what kind of world do you want to live in in 50 years?”.

Marc is encouraged by the crowds that turned out for School Strikes for Climate. He says the very act of coming together with like-minded people is an accomplishment. Despite criticism, marchers shouldn’t feel guilty because they are carrying a mobile phone, or wearing a plastic jacket – they are part of systems that will take a long time to change, and that calls for perfection are intended to be dis-empowering. So rather than aiming for perfection, it is OK to aim for good.

Definition: Language of sustainability has been misused. Need to describe in terms of passion and energy.

Success: Students

Superpower: Tenacity, thick skin (Brian Dixon says he should have said communicator).

Activist: Increasingly. Did think that soience had to be objective, but now realises that everything is value-laden and to pretend otherwise is to do science a disservice.

Motivation: Sense of obligation. But not hard as every day exciting and different. We (university) everything has to change because the students do.

Challenge: Ongoing research into adolescent self-harm

Miracle: Emotional skills curriculum

Advice: Aim for good.

Marc was in Dunedin to speak as part of NZ Psychology Week “Living Life Well”. His talk The Elusive Climate Consensus:If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t everyone believe (or not) in climate change?

Categories
computing

Computing for social responsibility

Alan Borning is Professor Emeritus at Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. He is the founder of Solutions for Environment, Economy and Democracy (SEED).

For the longest time, the things that I care about – sustainability, urban form – were not really connected to my day job, so I refocused my research.

Impacting the political process is a responsibility

How human values are expressed in software…value sensitive design

We have a crisis of democracy, a broken democracy and a broken discourse

Definition: Living within nature, a society that enables a different thriving and prosperity

Success: OneBusAway

Activist: Yes, I support activists

Motivation: Doing something about huge problems. It’s easy to get pessimistic so hope is important – things that have a possibility of working out, lets focus on that.

Challenge: Surveillance capitalism

Miracle: Change the political system to take money out of politics. Vote.


Advice: Looks for things that motivate you. See how it ties into bigger picture, but don’t get overwhelmed by that.

Categories
art

Emotion and logic

Dr Rachel Jacobs is an artist based in Nottingham and London. She founded the collective Active Ingredient. Rachel completed a PhD in 2014 entitled ‘The Artist’s Footprint: Investigating the distinct contributions of artists engaging the public with climate change’.

We discuss many of Rachel’s projects, including A Conversation between trees (ACM), The Prediction Machine, and Rachel’s current project Performing the Future – a project looking at the future in response to environmental change.

The art of sharing, telling stories

Approach without an agenda

Emotional connection

The focus has been ‘how do understand the data more?’ but there’s a disconnect, we need to focus on ‘how data can be made more meaningful?’.

We need a combination of emotion and logic to act

I’d rather help people think about it and make sense in their own terms than have them get angry or defensive.

Feeling of future unfolding

(Positive) Something has changed, I hope it sticks

Sustainability: Not thinking sustainability as something different from how we live our lives.

Superpower: Caring about how people feel emotionally about the world.

Challenge: Future Machine

Miracle: Changing the causes of climate change

Advice: Try to find out as much as possible, be open minded, even things that scare me.

Categories
innovation

Positive, responsible innovation

Dr Helena Webb is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. Helena explores how people interact with technologies in different kinds of setting and how social action both shapes and is shaped by innovation. We talk about responsible innovation, opportunities for positive change, and running ethical hackathons in Zimbabwe.

Understanding the ways in which our lives are shaped by technological innovations.

Activist?: Yes and no. I want to do social good but need to be open to be criticised.

Motivation: Opportunities to find out and see into different contexts

Advice: Go with what you are interested in and go with that flow.

 

Categories
computing

rethinking impact



Lucy Pei is a PhD student at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at University of California Irvine. Lucy was volunteering at a literacy centre for resettled refugees and could see problems with the things she and others were doing – even though they we doing it properly. This led to her paper We Did It Right, But It Was Still Wrong: Toward Assets-Based Design.  We discuss how interventions often fall short of delivering lasting impact in resource-constrained contexts,and the need for different ways of thinking about impacts, and different time scales.

Wholly different ways of doing science interventions

We need a willingness to try, but carefully.



Categories
law

Green criminology

Paul Stretesky is a Professor at Northumbria University where he specialises in green criminology. We talk environmental justice and environmental crime.

Both a crime and a created crime

Race to the bottom

The political-economic organisation of capitalism causes environmental destruction.

Capital will move where it can to create profit, but pollution knows no boundaries.

Sustainability: things we do today that don’t compromise what others can do tomorrow.

Success: Green Criminology. Increasing recognition of impact of extraction on communities.

Superpower: Connections between different fields

Activist: At various points. As a scholar supposed to be objective.

Challenge: A lot to be learned from community organisations

Advice: People may say you’re a little crazy, but find a person who is aligned and stick with it, it can make a big difference.

Categories
communication

golden thread: positive values

Kathy New is a researcher at Lancaster University on the socio-digital sustainability team. With a background in ecology and teaching and in the charity sector, Kathy is interested in social justice in energy markets, particularly the links between food poverty and fuel poverty.

If we’re looking for my golden thread, I would have to say values, positive values.

How to meld science, ethics and philosophy into one lovely, agreed, positive way for the planet.

Education to make a positive difference to lives of vulnerable people.

Success: Empowering women

Activist: Yes. I am active – if I see a problem I try and change it, don’t accept what is.

Superpower: Listening, asking questions

Motivation: Possibility of new day. Positivity.

Challenge: Finishing PhD

Miracle: For people to be kind to each other.

Advice: People know what is the right thing to do.

Categories
computing design

Imagining how things could be different

Ann Light is Professor of Design & Creative Technology at the University of Sussex and Prof of Interaction Design, Social Change and Sustainability at
Malmö University, Sweden.

Ann is a qualitative researcher specializing in design for social wellbeing, participatory design and social innovation, with a particular interest in creative practice for transformations to sustainability. She also studies how grassroots organizations use design.

How do we democratise futures?

Meaningful positives

Together as a force

Looking at how we can dwell together better

Systems to empower better human nature

Thought experiment workshops – we’re all in it together

I don’t work well from a position of hopelessness

How do we change the message? There’s a beautiful, kind, gentle…party going on

How things get connected and in balance

Something to hope for

Definition: Dwell together well

Superhero: Collectively we’ve imagined how things could be different

Activist: Yes, that’s my identity

Motivation: Realising potential

Miracle: Something for people to hope for.

Advice: Take that first act, find person who believes and do it together.